Old New York In Photos #91 – Garment District 1938

The Bustle Of New York City’s Garment District 1938

This is New York City’s Famous Garment District which used to be centered around the West 30s off of 7th Avenue.

That district is now a shadow of its former self.Most of the manufacturing of clothing has left New York for cheaper labor, primarily overseas, where sweatshops can pay people under one dollar an hour and have employees lose fingers routinely.

The most surprising thing about this photograph is that in the auto age, at least one business apparently held on to their horse for transportation!

Maybe this was a peculiar incident in the neighborhood, because the men in the street are giving way and looking with bemusement as the horse drawn delivery wagon passes.

The only identification on the rear of the photo is “New York garment district 1938.” But there are a few clues to the exact location yet it remained an enigma to me as to exactly what street this is.

We know we are looking east because the Sixth Avenue Elevated can clearly be seen in the background.

The two biggest clues should be the nearest business signs. There is the sign for the Enduro Sandwich Shop on the right. Above Enduro is engraved on the building the “National Bank and Trust Company.” The first word of which bank this is, is not legible. I thought it might be “Second.”

Checking the 1940 Manhattan telephone book neither of these businesses are listed in teh garment district.

To solve the mystery we looked further down the street and can see a difficult to read Dress Goods sign. Under heavy magnification it turns out to be Lankenau Dress Goods.

Mystery solved – Lankenau was located at 110 West 39th Street.


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